Wiser Freeman to reinforce Kings (April 18, 2014)
Nelson Beltran [ Source: Philippine Star ]

D-League

MANILA, Philippines -- The Barangay Ginebra Kings liked what they saw from Gabe Freeman in practice upon his arrival in the country Wednesday morning.

The Ginebra coaching staff and players are convinced Freeman is in top shape, contrary to reports that the former two-time PBA Best Import awardee might not be in playing condition because of long idleness.

“He kept on dunking, he kept on running and he energized the locals right away,” said Ginebra top official Robert Non.

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Mark Cuban says Milwaukee Bucks sale a bargain (April 18, 2014)
Tim McMahon [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban considers the sale price of approximately $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks to be a bargain, suggesting the true value of NBA franchises is north of $1 billion.

Longtime Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he has reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, a deal subject to approval by the NBA and its board of governors.

"I think they got off cheap," Cuban said. "I think that was a bargain. I think it's worth a lot more. I think it's worth a lot more than that. I think someone got a bargain. You can't look backwards. You've got to look forward. You don't value teams based off what happened in the past."

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Will he stay or will he go? Carmelo Anthony is keeping his options open after a losing season. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Carmelo Anthony said on Thursday he'd like to re-sign with the New York Knicks this summer but first would need assurances that team president Phil Jackson can build a winner around him.

"I want to come back. But I also want to win," Anthony said after his exit interview with Jackson at the team's practice facility. "You know, me wanting to be here, if we can put ourselves in position to at least compete at a high level over the course of [the next contract], then I'm willing to stay here and I'm willing to ride or die for New York.

"You know, I've never once said I wanted to leave. I always said that I wanted to explore my options, I wanted to see what's out there."

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Heat playoff run could decide James' future in Miami (April 18, 2014)
Frank Pingue [ Source: Reuters ]

Mar 1, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) adjusts his mask before a game against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena. Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - The Miami Heat may not be entering the playoffs as the top seed but they are still very much the team to beat, and anything less than a third consecutive NBA title could lead to the breakup of their Big Three.

No club has won three straight titles since the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 2000s, and the 16-team field for this year's playoffs, which begin on Saturday, has no shortage of contenders for the NBA's Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

The San Antonio Spurs, who were a whisker away from winning last year's NBA Finals, and the Indiana Pacers, eager to avenge last season's loss to Miami in the Eastern conference finals, are just two of the many teams feeling good about their chances.

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James Young of Kentucky Wildcats declares for NBA draft (April 18, 2014)
Jeff Goodman [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

Kentucky freshman James Young is the first Wildcat to officially declare for the NBA draft.

Young, a 6-foot-6 Michigan native, made the announcement on Thursday via a statement from the school. According to several NBA executives, Young is a lock first-round pick and could be selected late in the lottery.

"My time at Kentucky has been special to me, something I'll always treasure, but I feel that I'm ready to take the next step to the NBA," Young said. "I've learned more this year, on and off the court, about life from Coach Cal and the staff and appreciate all of their guidance and support. I can't say enough about my teammates; the journey helped us build a bond that we will always share for the rest of our lives."

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NBA

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has added his voice to calls for the NBA and other professional sports leagues to investigate allowing players to use medical marijuana as a means to manage pain.

"It doesn't really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects," Griffin said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. "So I would vote yes. I just think it makes sense."

Griffin's comments followed remarks made earlier this month by Bucks center Larry Sanders, who advocated for marijuana's legalization just after it was announced he would be suspended five games by the NBA for using the drug.

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Michael Jordan unveils his latest shoe, the Air Jordan XX9 (April 18, 2014)
Darren Rovell [ Source: ESPN ]

Available starting in September for $225 a pair, the Air Jordan XX9 is made to be noticed. Nikeinc.com

NEW YORK -- Michael Jordan introduced the 29th version of his shoe at an event hosted by Nike's Jordan brand in Manhattan on Thursday.

The Air Jordan XX9, which will be sold for $225 a pair in two distinct designs beginning in September, features a high-tech weaving process that designer Tinker Hatfield found in Italy. The upper part of the shoe will be made in Italy in flat sheets and shipped to Asia, where the rest of the shoe will be produced.

Hatfield, who has designed 17 of the 29 Air Jordan shoes, said the process to design the shoe took more than two years and involved a team of at least 20 people.

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Kobe Bryant of Los Angeles Lakers to star in documentary film (April 18, 2014)
Ramona Shelburne [ Source: ESPN ]

Coming soon to a TV near you: A documentary featuring the life and career of Kobe Bryant. Jeff Gross/Getty Images

A documentary on the life and career of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will air this fall on Showtime.

In the past, Bryant has resisted projects that demand an all-access look into his life, choosing to keep the methods behind his success mysterious. But with his career threatened by an Achilles injury last spring, and the knowledge that his time in the NBA is coming to an end within a few years, he changed his mind.

The feature-length documentary is executive produced by Bryant and director Gotham Chopra, whose work also includes an upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 film "The Little Master."

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NBA

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke freshman Jabari Parker is passing up his final three years of eligibility to enter the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-8 Parker, a consensus first-team All-America selection, joins Corey Maggette, Luol Deng, Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers as Blue Devils freshmen to enter the draft after just one year of college basketball. Irving was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

In an essay for Sports Illustrated that was released Thursday, Parker wrote: "I realize how much of a privilege and an honor it is to join the ranks of the NBA. I will do everything in my power to help deliver championships to the franchise that drafts me. At the same time, I recognize the obligation to represent the league in an admirable way off the court."

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LeBron James of Miami Heat is tops in NBA jersey sales (April 18, 2014)
Darren Rovell [ Source: ESPN ]

NBA

LeBron James once again has the NBA's best-selling jersey, but Kevin Durant is as close as he has ever been to the top, finishing the regular season in second place for the first time.

The rankings are based on sales during the season at NBAStore.com, figures that were released by the league on Thursday.

Despite playing in only six games this season, Kobe Bryant still finished third in jersey sales. Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who played in only 10 games, finished fourth, and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry rounded out the top five.

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